Citizenship law challenged

OTTAWA — The federal government has no authority to strip a Canadian-born person of their citizenship, says a Toronto lawyer spearheading a constitutional challenge of new legislation.

OTTAWA — The federal government has no authority to strip a Canadian-born person of their citizenship, says a Toronto lawyer spearheading a constitutional challenge of new legislation.

Rocco Galati, fellow lawyer Manuel Azevedo and the Constitutional Rights Centre have filed a notice of application in the Federal Court of Canada arguing Parliament reached beyond its jurisdiction in passing the controversial measures.

They are asking the court to declare the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act unconstitutional, citing citizenship protections ranging from the Magna Carta to the Constitution Act, 1867.

For years, a newcomer could be stripped of Canadian citizenship if they attained it through false representations.

The new law, which received royal assent last week, expands the list of those vulnerable to revocation to people born in Canada but eligible to claim citizenship in another country — for instance, through their parents.

It also broadens the grounds for revocation to include several criminal offences including espionage, treason or terrorism.

Opposition MPs have denounced the provisions as arbitrary and nonsensical, as revocation could now result in deportation to a country the person has never set foot in.

The Canadian Bar Association said the new law revives the medieval punishment of banishment.

Galati and his associates are also seeking a court order prohibiting citizenship revocation and removals under the new provisions.

They also want the government to file copies of “any and all” memos, opinions or legal opinions concerning the constitutional authority of the government to enact the legislation.

Immigration Minister Chris Alexander’s office did not answer questions Wednesday regarding the law’s constitutionality.

The Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers has said it will also fight the citizenship measures in the courts.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said he wasn’t surprised at the legal challenge.

However, the minister has vigorously defended the legislation, saying the public thinks it is “absolutely legitimate” to strip dual nationals of their Canadian citizenship if they commit grave offences.

“The Conservatives are at war with a court system that keeps turning back their bizarre legislation that fails to respect Canadians’ rights,” Mulcair said in an interview.

The legislation violates equality rights under the Constitution by creating separate classes of Canadians, says Lorne Waldman, president of the association of more than 250 lawyers who represent refugees.

The association also argues the proposed revocation procedures lack fairness and that a provision forcing new citizens to swear they intend to reside in Canada — and risk losing their citizenship if they later go abroad — would mean some Canadians have mobility rights while others do not.

Just Posted

Police probe deadly shooting that left 3 dead, 12 wounded in Toronto’s Greektown

TORONTO — Three people died in a shooting rampage that took place… Continue reading

Alberta UCP Leader Jason Kenney says hateful comments won’t be tolerated

EDMONTON — Alberta United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney, addressing party friction over… Continue reading

One in seven sexual assault cases in 2017 deemed ‘unfounded’: Statcan

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says some 3,900 sexual assaults reported to police… Continue reading

Child’s play at Westerner Days

Balloons bring out the child in everyone

WATCH: Gazebo groundbreaking in Waskasoo

Fifty per cent of the $100,000 project is funded by a provincial government grant

Fiat Chrysler is shaken without visionary CEO behind wheel

MILAN — Investors sent shares in Fiat Chrysler sliding Monday as they… Continue reading

HMCS St. John’s, Sea King return to Halifax port after overseas mission

HALIFAX — HMCS St. John’s and its 240-member crew pulled into their… Continue reading

Danforth rampage continues a deadly year of gun violence for Toronto

TORONTO — Sunday’s deadly rampage in Toronto marks the latest in a… Continue reading

Iran dismisses Trump’s explosive threat to country’s leader

TEHRAN, Iran — Iranians on Monday shrugged off the possibility that a… Continue reading

Americans in blended families cope with toll of deportation

BOCA DEL R\XCDO, Mexico — It’s almost as if Letty Stegall is… Continue reading

Residents flee forest fire near Greek capital of Athens

ATHENS, Greece — Residents fled their homes Monday as a swift-moving fire… Continue reading

Charming great white shark delights followers with return to waters off N.S.

HALIFAX — Hilton is back. The great white shark who stole the… Continue reading

Police probe deadly shooting that left 3 dead, 12 wounded in Toronto’s Greektown

TORONTO — Three people died in a shooting rampage that took place… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month